Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2: The Streets) has managed to produce something even more stupid than Stephen Sommers’ trashy first cinematic outing for Hasbro’s '80s action figures, but with added hatefulness.
Super-evil anarchists Cobra have replaced the US President (Jonathan Pryce) with an impostor to gain access to a new, secret WMD and get rid of elite unit the G.I. Joes, because apparently they’re the only guys in the universe who can pose a credible threat to Cobra’s masterplan of World Domination. Surviving an attack, but now outlawed, a handful of Joes led by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson must save the day, with a little help from their original hard-nut Bruce Willis.
Subplots pop-up inexplicably and incoherently; poorly shot set pieces confound in a wilfully inane bore of a film. The supposedly endearing banter between the usually charismatic Rock and Channing Tatum in the first act feels even more forced than the awful, eye-baffling, retro-fitted 3D, and the dialogue amazingly manages to tumble downhill from there. Willis appears to be sneering at his own lines.
In one scene, assassin Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) bemoans the inherent chauvinism of the US Military, detailing her struggle to be taken seriously as a woman in that most boyish of boys clubs. As she delivers this monologue to a male colleague, she’s in her pants and being secretly ogled by him via a reflection in a television set. Classy. Such treatment of women, some bizarre jibes at North Korea and the pungent odour of imperialism make this more than just a messy waste of everyone’s time. It really is an abomination. [Chris Fyvie]